“A federal court in Utah placed an injunction on Aereo Inc. covering states in the U.S. Tenth Circuit, giving television broadcasters their first legal victory over the online video service as the Supreme Court prepares to take up the matter in April,” Amol Sharma reports for The Wall Street Journal.

“Judge Dale A. Kimball said Aereo, which streams TV signals over the Web for a monthly fee without TV stations’ permission, is violating the copyrights of broadcasters, the plaintiffs in the case,” Sharma reports. “The injunction bars Aereo from operating in states including Utah, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho. Aereo already offers services in Salt Lake City and Denver and will have to shut down those operations.”

“The judge said Aereo has the same responsibility to license programming as cable operators that pay billions of dollars a year to carry local TV stations. ‘Aereo’s retransmission of Plaintiffs’ copyrighted programs is indistinguishable from a cable company,’ the order said,” Sharma reports. “Aereo says its service is legal because it only facilitates consumers’ legal right to receive over-the-air TV stations free of charge. In a statement, Chet Kanojia, Aereo’s founder and chief executive, said the company is disappointed the Utah court took a ‘different path’ from other courts that have sided with Aereo… The company’s technology assigns tiny antennas at its facilities to each of its users, who rent them to stream local TV stations like Fox, CBS, NBC and ABC. Users can also record telecasts. The company argues that its setup provides the same functions as a home antenna and a DVR — and is therefore legal.”

Sharma reports, “The issue will likely be settled at the U.S. Supreme Court, which has agreed to take up broadcasters’ appeal of a ruling last year by the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals.”

Read more in the full article here.

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